Relaxed, jovial atmosphere contributes to quiet night for police

Police yesterday praised New Year's Eve revellers in Central Otago for their "good behaviour".

Central Otago police sub-area commander Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said that, from a policing perspective, the night had been great It had been quiet throughout Central Otago.

He said this was not uncommon, as Central Otago tended to be frequented by family holiday-makers.

Senior Constable Brett Pay said only two arrests occurred, one for a domestic assault in Lauder shortly before midnight on Saturday and another for a breach of the liquor ban near the pie cart in Alexandra about 3.30am yesterday.

Promote Dunstan, the organisers of the street party in Sunderland St, Clyde, also praised revellers' behaviour.

Group president Rory Butler said the event had been the "smoothest in many, many years".

He put this down to "good security and good police presence" but other members, such as treasurer Carol Haig, said it was because this year, a lot of the party-goers had been families or older people.

About 1500 people turned out to celebrate.

Some drifted in earlier in the night, but most arrived in "the usual rush at the last minute", Mr Butler said.

The atmosphere was relaxed and jovial as the adults chatted, some tapping their toes, while children raced around and showed off their dance moves as Invercargill band Rogue belted out covers of classic songs in a solid three-and-a-half-hour set from 9pm until 12.30am.

Later in the night, as more people turned up, a mosh pit formed in front of the stage.

As the countdown to midnight finished, the crowd let out a huge cheer and piper Clifford Hiscock played Auld Lang Syne.

It was a similar atmosphere in Naseby, which also had a street party, organised by the Royal Hotel and held in Earne St.

Hotel barmaid Kirsty Milne-Reeves said it was "pretty full on" as about 500 people, some locals, others holiday-makers, flooded the normally sleepy town to welcome the new year and listen to Dunedin band Tempo.

The Clyde party finished about 12.30am, and the Naseby one finished about 2.30am.

Snr Sgt Kerrisk said six Dunedin-based police had joined the Central Otago ranks for this period and would stay another week. Two are stationed in Alexandra, two in Ranfurly and two in Cromwell.


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